Free Essay. Public Health Risk: The Impact of Mercury

Published: 2023-03-08
Free Essay. Public Health Risk: The Impact of Mercury
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Ecology Chemistry Nutrition Public health
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 886 words
8 min read

Mercury is a natural element released into the environment through natural activities such as geological deposits and volcano eruptions. Industrialization and other human activities such as coal-burning have increased the occurrence of mercury. Although mercury has several positive benefits it becomes poisonous once it dissolves into water and makes its way into the food chain. Mercury enters the food chain once the fish ingest it in lakes. The toxic mercury that is dissolved in water is referred to as methylmercury. Mercury reaches the human body after they consume fish that had ingested the mercury in water. The effects of ingesting mercury take a while for them to manifest in the human body. The impact of mercury on the human body include chromosomal and neurological problems.

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Risks of Mercury in Public Health

Residents of Park in Bexar community are advised against fishing or camping near lakes since the lakes have been contaminated with mercury. Mercury contamination has been proven to be hazardous to human health. The effects of mercury contamination may take long to manifest in the body. The severity of the impact also depends on the following amount of mercury one is exposed to, the form of mercury, victim's age, and health status. Residents of Park community are advised not to swim or fish in the lake since they will be exposing themselves to the following risks.

Risks in Pregnant Women

Pregnant women face several health risks after they consume fish with high levels of methylmercury. Mercury affects the neurological development of the fetus since the methylmercury ingested affects the child's undeveloped nervous system. Although pregnant women exposed to mercury contamination may not exhibit signs of contamination their children tend to be born with brain damage. Brain damage in these children occurs as a result of the poisonous mercury degenerating and reducing the number of neurons present. Pregnant women exposed to mercury contamination also face the risk of giving birth to children with minimal congenital disease. The disease manifests itself by causing neck instability, mental retardation, convulsions, and cerebellar defects. When explaining the health risks of mercury in pregnant women (Minai, 2019. In children, imperfections due to methylmercury can result in errors in attention, behavior, cognition and motor skills. In addition to affecting children during the gestation period, mercury contamination also has adverse effects on young children.

Risks to Fishermen and Campers

Fishers and people camping at the lake are exposed to inorganic mercury, which is also hazardous. Inorganic mercury becomes dangerous to the human body after one is exposed to it for an extended period as it is in the case of fishers. According to Campers and Fishers who are exposed to inorganic mercury salts face the risk of developing kidney disorders (Health Effects of Exposures to Mercury | US EPA. (2019). Due to overexposure, they also risk corroding their skin ad reduced mental productivity. Apart from the health benefits, the fishermen may also lose their source of livelihood since they cannot continue selling poisonous fish to the residents. Bexar County might also lose its recreational attraction leading to loss of jobs and incomes for people who worked at the lakes.

Risks to Adults

Methyl mercury also causes health risks when consumed by adults. Over the past years, mercury pollution has dramatically increased. Most people in the world have at least tiny amounts of methylmercury in their bodies, reflecting its prevalence in the environment. However, most people have mercury levels in their bodies below the standards associated with possible health effects. Adults with high levels of methylmercury face the following health risks, reduced movement coordination, loss of peripheral vision, impaired speech hearing, and walking.

Recommendations on How to Avoid Mercury Contamination.

  • Fish Consumers
  • Eating fish is a healthy practice since fish provide our bodies with proteins and the necessary nutrients needed for the healthy development of children. To avoid mercury contamination, people are advised to:
  • Eat fish with lower percentages of mercury such as salmon and shrimp
  • Avoid the following fist types: swordfish, king mackerel tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico and shark, maintain a diet of 8-12 ounces of different fish weekly
  • When purchasing fish from rivers or lacks pay attention to fish advisory bodies present
  • Consumers Near Lake
  • Consumers also play a significant role in the increase of mercury pollution and need to help in its eradication. To prevent mercury pollution consumers are recommended to practice the following:
  • Buy mercury-free products
  • Ensure all mercury-containing products are recycled
  • Recycle all household goods that need mercury to function, e.g., fluorescent tubes.

Residents of Park Community are encouraged to come together to get rid of the mercury pollution that has affected them. The infection has exposed them to harmful health risks especially pregnant women and young children. To end mercury pollution, they need to avoid purchasing mercury-based products and recycle all products containing mercury.


Health Effects of Exposures to Mercury | US EPA. (2019). Retrieved from

Health Effects of Exposures to Mercury | US EPA. (2019). Retrieved 26 November 2019, from

Minai, M. (2019). Methylmercury and Human Embryonic Development | the Embryo Project Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 November 2019, from

The risk from mercury in fish and shellfish | Recommendations for selecting and eating fish, New Kent, Poquoson, New Kent Gynecology, Poquoson Gynecology. (2019). Retrieved 26 November 2019, from

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